When Elie was a young, fit and healthy 22-year-old he noticed a lump on the side of his neck. He went to his GP complaining of fatigue, insomnia, and severe itching. After being misdiagnosed with glandular fever and then a mystery virus, he received a call from his doctor. “You had better come in – there’s something wrong with your blood – your white blood cells are through the roof”. He was then referred to Prof. Ross Baker who diagnosed Elie with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Elie’s brother had been in remission for lymphoma for over ten years when Elie was diagnosed, so the family was shocked to have a second son diagnosed with the condition. Elie’s treatment consisted of five to six months of fortnightly overnight stays in hospital.

“I’ve always been a positive person, very out there and bubbly, but it’s made me realise that worse things happen in life. I think of myself as a grateful person and appreciate the small things even more these days.” - Elie

During this time, he really struggled to sit still – he tried to go for walks, and out for lunch with friends and family, but had to be extremely careful due to his low white blood cell count. He worked as a personal trainer but could not continue due to the risk of infection. Luckily, Elie had a good reaction to the treatment and was able to remain somewhat active.

Elie is most proud of his own mental fortitude during his treatment journey. He recalls “just getting on with it” and trying to stay positive.

“The biggest challenge was seeing my family struggling during my treatment. My mum with her second son going through it – that was the hardest thing for me to see.” – Elie

Elie has been in remission for six years. Following his treatment and recovery, Elie was prompted to rethink his career aspirations and with a desire to ‘give back’ decided to become a paramedic.

“The thing that helped me the most was friends and family. My advice for people going through treatment is to surround yourself with positive people; and, it’s easier said than done, but stay as positive as you can.” - Elie

Elie is proud to share his story through the Perth Blood Institute (PBI) to help other young people suffering from blood disorders.